HOME have announced that they are targeting 4 September to reopen their cinemas, bars and restaurant to the public.

Engagement and Talent Development work will also return to the building from September, with the HOME gallery and theatre programme following shortly after. More details of the reopening programme will be announced later this Summer.

A new HOME Soon Panel – including audience members – will be set up to be part of the discussion about additional safety measures, approaches to programming and how HOME will engage with those most affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The team at HOME have been consulting expert advice, speaking to colleagues from across the UK and analysing examples of best practice internationally in order that visitors, staff and artists will be safe and feel welcome once the building reopens. Measures include the redesign of spaces to allow for social distancing, a reduction in capacity and enhanced cleaning.

Jon Gilchrist, Executive Director at HOME, said: “While we are aware that the Government has stated cinemas may reopen from 4th July, this is not the best option for many independent cinemas like ourselves whose programmes do not focus on the Summer blockbusters. Instead we want to take the time to ensure that we have time to make the necessary adjustments to the building, and to speak to our audiences about how they can be involved in our plans.

“The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on the cultural sector, and we are lucky that our building allows us the option to open with social distancing in place. By opening as soon as it is safe and affordable to do so, we will play our part in the re-opening of the city, the recovery of our communities and the survival of the arts. We are planning an amazing programme that will repay our audiences and patrons for the generosity and goodwill they continually show us. And more than anything we miss doing what we do best – bringing great art and audiences together in a welcoming and engaging place.”

After the Interval, an industry-wide survey of arts audiences, including regular HOME audience members, found that the majority of people surveyed said they would return soon if they saw the highest possible standards in hygiene and social distancing. For those who do not wish to return immediately, HOME will continue to produce its series of online commissions, Homemakers.

The negative financial impact of the pandemic on the cultural sector, HOME included, has been huge, and the arts centre is also working with colleagues from across the country to make the case to Government for more support to help the sector recover, and supporting initiatives including the GM Artists Hub and the National Freelance Task Force.

Dave Moutrey, Director and CEO of HOME, said: “Although the future remains uncertain, we’re pleased to be able to announce our plans for reopening in September. We believe that reflecting the social and cultural landscape of our city and the world is more critical than ever, and HOME plays a huge part in that. It was an emotional moment to leave the building after lockdown, and I’m sure it will be an even more emotional one when we return. In the meantime, I’d like to thank our audiences and patrons for their unwavering support, and we look forward to welcoming our audiences and artists back HOME soon.”

For more information, visit homemcr.org.